Today in History: 1992

Sep 5, 2016

Birch Cliff Public School

Birch Cliff Public School

Sept. 5, 1992 marked the end of public health scare at Birch Cliff Public School that had parents so frightened that many kept their children home from school.

Asbestos fine

Toronto Star, Sept. 5, 1992.

Twenty-four years ago today a contracting firm was fined $10,000 for mishandling asbestos disposal while working on repairs to the school windows in April 1990.

According to The Toronto Star, school officials, presumably relying on the expertise of the contractor, told parents that the wallboard being removed from the school did not contain asbestos.

But a suspicious parent picked up a piece of the debris that workers had thrown from the roof to the ground and had it independently tested.

Sure enough, it contained asbestos.

A Scarborough Public Health tried to reassure the community that students and staff were not exposed to a serious health risk because air tests proved the asbestos did not contain dangerous loose fibres that could be inhaled.

Instead, the asbestos was contained in tightly bound clay or cement forms.

But the trust was gone.

About 85 parents kept their children out of school and some transferred schools never to return.

You can read more articles about the controversy below.

Asbestos - pupils kept home

Toronto Star, April 19, 1990.

Asbestos fears

Toronto Star, April 20, 1990.

Asbestos public health

Toronto Star, April 21, 1990.

This is article is part of a community “Today in History” series commemorating the upcoming 100th anniversary celebration of Birch Cliff Public School taking place on Sept. 23/24, 2016.  To see other articles click here: 1927192919351935195119931796199119831988198519301996, 1926, 1918, 1999.

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